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Top 10 Consumer Staples Stocks for this Earnings Season


The first-quarter earnings season has begun and the overall picture is not very pleasing due to a host of macroeconomic issues and continued volatility in the equity market. Issues like the slide in oil prices is leading to worries related to global deflation and an economic slowdown. In addition to these, continued appreciation of the U.S. dollar relative to most foreign currencies will continue to weigh on earnings of U.S. based staples companies with significant international operations. Other risks include uncertainty regarding the Fed rate hike, potential price wars, a competitive environment, slowdown in international markets, political turmoil in Russia, sluggishness in China and Japan and an unfavorable economic environment in Europe.

However, what’s interesting is that despite the macro issues, a number of companies are coming out with positive surprises, in terms of both earnings and revenues. This implies that either investors were prepared for even weaker results or the guidance for most companies were already lowered to easy-to-beat levels.

Some of the industry players including The Coca-Cola Companies, Inc. (KO), McCormick & Company, Inc. (MKC), PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) have posted positive earnings surprises in their recently reported quarter, while Philip Morris International, Inc. (PM) has missed on earnings.

As per the Zacks Earnings Trend, 21.9% of the consumer staples companies have already reported their first quarter results, out of which 85.7% beat earnings while 57.1% exceeded revenue estimates. Total earnings for these companies were however down 4.3% on 6% lower revenues on a year-over-year basis. In fact, investors anticipate yet another earnings decline for the S&P 500 index with lower revenues for the first quarter, probably making it the fourth consecutive quarter of decline.

Amid this scenario, we bring to you 10 consumer stocks that appear to be promising. It makes sense to add these potential winners to your portfolio ahead of their releases.

The Way to Pick the Right Stocks

Obviously, there are quite a few companies in the consumer staples space, so it may be difficult to pick the right stock for your portfolio. One way to narrow down the list of choices is by looking at stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy), #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) – and a positive Earnings ESP.

Earnings ESP is our proprietary methodology to determine which stocks have the best chance to surprise in their next earnings announcement. It shows the percentage difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Our research shows that for stocks with this combination, the chance of positive earnings surprise is as high as 70%.

Here are ten consumer staple stocks currently equipped with the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat:

10 Prominent Choices

You may bet on consumer products giant The Procter & Gamble Company (PG). This Cincinnati, Ohio- based company carries a Zacks Rank #3 and has an Earnings ESP of +1.24%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at 81 cents a share. The company is slated to report results on Apr 26.

Investors can also count on Kellogg Company (K), which manufactures and markets ready-to-eat cereal and convenience foods. The stock holds a Zacks Rank #3 and has an Earnings ESP of +1.08%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at 93 cents a share. This Battle Creek, MI-based company is scheduled to report results on May 5.

We also suggest investing in consumer products giant Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB). Based in Dallas, TX, Kimberly-Clark carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has an Earnings ESP of +1.33%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at $1.51 a share. The company is scheduled to report results on Apr 22.

New York based Avon Products, Inc. (AVP) can also be an attractive pick for investors. This beauty products manufacturer has a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of +50.00%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at 2 cents a share. The company is scheduled to report results on May 5.

Another consumer staples company that can add value to your portfolio is Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (CCE). Coca-Cola Enterprises, which produces, distributes, and markets non-alcoholic beverages, has a Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of +2.50%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at 40 cents per share. This Atlanta, Georgia -based company is expected to report results on Apr 28.

You may invest in confectionery products maker The Hershey Company (HSY). This Pennsylvania- based company carries a Zacks Rank #3 and has an Earnings ESP of +2.83%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at $1.06 per share. The company is slated to report results on Apr 26.

Investors can also rely on cigarette manufacturer Altria Group, Inc. (MO). The stock holds a Zacks Rank #2 and has an Earnings ESP of +1.47%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at 68 cents a share. This Richmond, Virginia-based company is scheduled to report results on Apr 28.

We also suggest investing in Newell Brands Inc. (NWL), which designs, manufactures or sources, and distributes consumer and commercial products worldwide. Newell carries a Zacks Rank #1 and has an Earnings ESP of +2.63%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at 38 cents a share. The company is scheduled to report results on Apr 29.

Skin care and nutritional products marketer Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NUS) can also be an attractive stock for investors. This Utah- based company has a Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of +8.11%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at 37 cents a share. The company is scheduled to report results on Apr 28.

Another consumer staples company that can add value to the portfolio is Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (CHD). It manufactures household, personal care, and specialty products in the U.S. and has a Zacks Rank #2 and an Earnings ESP of +1.19%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter of 2016 stands at 84 cents per share. This New Jersey -based company is expected to report results on May 5.

Bottom Line

We believe that investing in these companies, which have an earnings beat potential, should yield strong returns for your portfolio in the short term.

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
PROCTER & GAMBL (PG): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
KELLOGG CO (K): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
KIMBERLY CLARK (KMB): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AVON PRODS INC (AVP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
COCA-COLA ENTRP (CCE): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HERSHEY CO/THE (HSY): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ALTRIA GROUP (MO): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NEWELL RUBBERMD (NWL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NU SKIN ENTERP (NUS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CHURCH & DWIGHT (CHD): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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